First Test, Brisbane, (day 4): Australia beat India by 337 runs in first Test
Australia thrashed India by 337 runs in the first cricket Test on the fourth day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.
India, chasing 499 runs for victory, were bundled out for 161 and give Australia a 1-0 lead in the four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. It was Australia’s 15th consecutive Test victory and they are just one win away from equalling their world record of 16 set from October 1999 to February 2001.
India collapsed from 134 for five at tea and lost their last five wickets for 27 runs. Australia’s bowlers all shared the second innings wickets and clinched a comprehensive victory with left-armer Mitchell Johnson claiming 3-21 off 15 overs. Only V.V.S. Laxman (42) and Sourav Ganguly (40) mounted any resistance against the relentless Australian attack.
The series now heads to Sydney for the second Test, starting on Wednesday. The Australians’ last home series loss was 14 years ago to the West Indies 2-1 and they have been unbeaten in 26 subsequent home series.
First Test, Brisbane, (day 3): Australia set India victory target of 499
Australia set India a fourth-innings target of 499 after declaring their second innings closed at 7-351 late on day three.
Their bowlers, who dismissed India for 196 in the first innings, will get a short session at the Indians before stumps. With good weather forecast for the next two days, Australia will win unless India can produce a remarkable turnaround with the bat and post the biggest score of the match on a slow pitch which should spin and begin playing low.
Only three teams in 130 years of Test history have ever scored more than 400 to win a match, while England's 1928 side is the only one to have ever posted more than 300 in a successful run-chase at the MCG. Australia spent almost all day steadily building their total, without too much pressure from the Indian bowlers. Michael Clarke top scored with 73, opener Phil Jaques made 51, Matthew Hayden hit a quickfire 47 and Andrew Symonds made 44 after getting a nice share of luck early in his innings.
First Test, Brisbane, (day 2): Australia building big lead
Stuart Clark and fellow paceman Brett Lee claimed four wickets apiece as Australia dismissed India for 196 runs to take a big lead after the second day of the first cricket test Thursday.
Clark (4-28) took two wickets from three balls either side of the tea break and Lee (4-46) cleaned up the tail end to close out an outstanding innings for the Australian bowlers on a deteriorating Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket.
After having Yuvraj Singh caught behind for a duck on the last ball before tea, Clark completed his over after the break by trapping Mahendra Dhoni lbw without conceding a run. Matthew Hayden was unbeaten on 22 and Phil Jaques had 10 at stumps to give Australia a second-innings total of 32 and a lead of 179 after ending the first innings on 343 earlier Thursday.
First Test, Brisbane, (day 1): Kumble, Zaheer restrict Australia to 337 for 9
Indian skipper Anil Kumble truly led from the front on Wednesday, the first day of the five-day Boxing Day Test being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Kumble stopped the Australian batsmen in their tracks after they had put on an imposing 135 for the opening partnership.He grabbed 5 for 84, reducing the home side to 337 for nine at the close. The only redeeming feature of the Australian innings was a sixth Boxing day Test century by opener Matthew Hayden. At the close, tailenders Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark were batting on 10 and 21 respectively.
Kumble took the wickets of Phil Jacques, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee. Zaheer Khan took three wickets, while left arm fast bowler R.P. Singh took the wicket of captain aspirant Michael Clarke. Hayden has now made a century in every Boxing Day Test since 2001-02 except against Pakistan three seasons ago. By the end of the day it was India who were having a more festive season.
Earlier, at the start of play, Kumble decided to play Rahul Dravid as an opener, leaving out Virender Sehwag, while Ponting opted to field left-arm Chinaman bowler Brad Hogg in place of pace bowler Shaun Tait. Sourav Ganguly, who is playing his 100th Test, was felicitated by Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar, captain Anil Kumble on behalf of the team, and Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary Niranjan Shah.
Second Test, Sydney (day5): Australia beat India by 122 runs, equals record
Part-time spinner Michael Clarke claimed three wickets in five balls of the penultimate over to clinch Australia a dramatic 122-run second Test victory against India and a record-equalling 16th straight Test win at Sydney on Sunday.
India had looked to be hanging on for a determined draw, with skipper Anil Kumble leading the way with an unbeaten 45. But he could only watch from the other end as the last three wickets tumbled in the second-last over to hand Australia an astonishing victory.
Clarke, with his left-arm off-spinners, claimed 3 for 5 off 11 balls to get Australia home and they will now shoot for a world record 17th straight win in the third Perth Test on January 16-20. While Clarke may have won Australia a thrilling Test, all-rounder Andrew Symonds was judged man-of-the-match with his unbeaten 162 and 61 and 3-51 in the second innings.
The Australian team fought to the end and ringed the remaining Indian batsmen with six fielders to get a breakthrough after Kumble and Harbhajan Singh looked likely to bat out for the draw.
Earlier Ponting called a halt to Australia's second innings at 401 for seven, leaving India with 72 overs to go after the runs. Hussey remained unbeaten on 145 off 259 balls at the time of the declaration for his eighth Test hundred and boosted his average to 84.8 in 20 Tests. Kumble finished with 4-148 off 40 overs and now has 599 Test wickets, while fellow spinner Harbhajan took 2-92 off 33 overs.
Second Test, Sydney (day4): Hayden lifts Australia to commanding position
Matthew Hayden's century helped Australia take a lead of 213 into the pavilion as an early stumps was called on the fourth day of the Second Test against India at the SCG on Saturday.
The hosts were 4 for 282, after Indian skipper Anil Kumble (3 for 110) struck twice in quick succession close to drinks in the final session. After scoring the impressive century and steering Australia to a position of command, Hayden (123) was caught reverse sweeping by Wasim Jaffer off the bowling of Anil Kumble to have the hosts at 4 for 251.
Earlier Hayden had linked up with Mike Hussey (87 not out) in a telling partnership of 160 to lift the Australians into a commanding position. The day's play was called to an end early when the umpires offered the light to Hussey and Andrew Symonds (14 not out) with four overs remaining.
Second Test, Sydney (day3): Tendulkar's brilliant ton puts India in control
Sachin Tendulkar gave glimpses of his vintage form by cracking an unbeaten 154 as India took control of the second cricket Test against Australia by taking a vital 69-run first innings lead.
The 34-year-old master batsman not only notched up his 38th Test century after a prolonged sequence of dismissals in the 90s this year but led a stunning Indian counter-attack which took the visitors to a commanding first innings total of 532. Matthew Hayden (5) and Phil Jacques (8) were at the crease with Australia reaching 13 for no loss at close on an eventful third day which was completely dominated by the visitors.
Resuming at the overningt total of 216 for 3, the famed Indian batting line up finally lived up to its reputation as they plundered runs at will on a good batting track at the SGC.
Second Test, Sydney (day2): Laxman's ton guides India to 216 for 3
VVS Laxman made a flamboyant 109 and guided India to 216 for three at the close of play in reply to Australia's first innings score of 463 on the second day of the second Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Thursday.
Sourav Ganguly was batting on 21 and Sachin Tendulkar on nine when the stumps were drawn. Rahul Dravid also broke his mental shackle with a gritty 53.
Earlier, Symonds eclipsed his previous highest score of 156 set a year ago against England in Melbourne with his 344-minute epic that rescued the Australians on the opening day. Symonds, helped by big partnerships with Brad Hogg (173 runs) and Brett Lee (114), added 329 runs for the last four wickets to frustrate the tourists.
All-rounder Symonds blasted the Indian bowling for 18 fours and two sixes off 226 balls for his second century in his 17th Test match. Lee claimed his fourth Test half-century and Mitchell Johnson batted boldly to rub the salt into the Indian wounds. The Australians' big innings came after being in strife at 134 for six midway through the first day's play.
The Australians rattled along at a brisk 4.1 runs an over in their innings after going to first day stumps on 376 for seven off 89 overs. Indian skipper Anil Kumble finished with 4-106 off 25.3 overs with left-arm paceman RP Singh taking 4-124 off 26 overs. Lee fell five runs short of his highest Test score before he was leg before wicket to Kumble for 59.
Second Test, Sydney (day1): Symonds hits ton as Aussies stage brilliant recovery
India allowed Australia to wriggle out of a precarious position as the hosts rode on Andrew Symonds' unbeaten scintillating century to stage a remarkable recovery in the second cricket Test Sydney today.
Electing to bat, the Australians were gasping at 134 for six at one stage before Symonds (137 not out) and Brad Hogg (79) not only pulled the team out of the pits with a 173-run seventh wicket partnership but take them to a comfortable 376 for seven at close on the opening day. Brett Lee (31) was giving Symonds company at stumps on a day which saw the script going terribly wrong for the Indians after the post-lunch drinks break.
The Indian bowlers exploited the morning conditions on a lively SCG track with pacer Rudra Pratap Singh (4/108) ripping through the top order but the going became difficult as the pitch eased out during the day. It turned out to be a frustrating day for the Indians as Symonds not only notched up his second Test hundred but took Australia to a commanding position by finding an able ally in Hogg after their top order batsmen had perished cheaply.
To be fair, the Indians were also done in by some poor umpiring decisions with captain Ricky Ponting and centurion Andrew Symonds being the beneficiaries. Symonds could have returned to the pavilion when he was on 30 if a confident caught behind appeal was not turned down by umpire Steve Bucknor much to the dismay of the Indians. Television replays showed that Symonds had edged the ball to Dhoni and the flamboyant right-hander made full use of the reprieve.
Second Test, Sydney: Dravid to open again, Sehwag left out
Unfazed by Rahul Dravid's flopshow in the first Test, the Indian team management today decided to persist with him as opener and leave out specialist Virender Sehwag for the second Test against Australia starting Sydney tomorrow.
Dravid, who batted at a snail's pace to total 21 runs in 180 balls in the first Test, is all set to open the innings at the SCG as well after Sehwag was once again overlooked despite skipper Anil Kumble saying that there was a "50-50" chance of the aggressive right-hander playing. Dravid's promotion to the opener's slot from the number three position has been criticised by former cricketers who feel the move cost India the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.
Meanwhile, in what is sure to come as a blow to the visitors, Zaheer Khan has injured his ankle, bringing Irfan Pathan into the equation. Pathan is likely to make the playing XI if Zaheer fails to recover.
On the other hand, high on their empthatic 337-run win in Melbourne, the Australians have retained their playing XI. This means slinger Shaun Tait will once again warm the benches, while chinaman bowler Brad Hogg keeps his place in the side.
With the mercury tipping 36C on a scorching Perth day, Australia's four-pronged pace attack knew they would be in for a tough slog.
And with India cruising at 2-198, Australia looked to be in a fair amount of trouble.
But a gutsy performance from paceman Brett Lee (3-64 from 19 overs) and a cameo from Mitchell Johnson (2-62) ensured Australia ended day one of the third Test on top, with India reduced to 6-297 by stumps.
Andrew Symonds' dismissal of Rahul Dravid (93) and Lee's wicket of VVS Laxman (27) in the final 40 minutes of play turned the day in Australia's favour.
"We just had to hang in there, if we had them four down for 300 it might have been a different story and you'd probably give India the tick in the box," Lee said.
"Those two late wickets, six down, I think Australia is in a pretty good spot now. It was pretty hot out there. When you see seagulls walking around with their mouths open, you know it's a pretty warm day."
"I think a few of our guys were doing it as well, it was tough out there but you just have to hang in there. I knew that I only had a couple of overs to go and the second new ball is crucial, we always try to pick up (a) wicket or two and that was the case today."
“The wicket was a pretty good wicket. It probably didn't have the bounce and pace that we all thought it would. But it was a great wicket to bowl on and I think it will be a bit quicker tomorrow. It looks like a pretty decent batting wicket as well once you get in and get set. We have to make sure tomorrow morning we get a few early wickets."
Lee has matured remarkably as a bowler in the past couple of years, taking the mantle of No.1 paceman in the wake of Glenn McGrath's retirement at the end of last summer.
"What I have done over the last couple of years… I know when to go up and down a gear," Lee said.
"There are times when you're running in bowling about 95 per cent of your maximum and try to get the ball the right line and length, there are times when you have to go full tilt and that was today. When you need a wicket you have to go up to that next gear."